Exploring The Black Forest, Germany
Learning how acid rain and landscape use affects the environment is part of my awareness campaign as a nature conservationist all over America. Together with my four buddies, we share the same passion of making every individual aware of the connection between how man treats nature and the world that we live in. We go to schools, malls and distribute our information materials about the importance of taking care of our environment. My commitment to act in behalf of Mother Earth went as far as reaching Black Forest, Germany. We learned so much about this municipality and the challenges it faces regarding climate change. Upon invitation from a leading car company in Berlin who also share the same commitment of awareness, our group had a chance to further our cause to protect this attraction. They sponsored our flight and accommodations during our one month awareness tour of the Black Forest, named after its dark fir and spruce trees. This region is also famous for its bubbling mineral resources and hiking activities.
We enjoyed a pleasant 17 hour Lufthansa Air flight from Boston to Frankfurt International Airport. After getting all cleared at the German Immigration, with our trolleys in tow we were picked up by a service stretch limousine by the company who sponsored our travel. From the airport we drove for an hour to get to Black Forest at the Baden Wurttemberg Region. We met up with the Brand Manager of the leading car manufacturing company in the lobby of the hotel. As he gave our itinerary we discussed with him the goals we wanted to achieve regarding the environmental cause of his country. He advised us to enjoy and make the most of our stay and tour of the Black Forest. After the meeting we immediately began our tour by exploring the area just outside our hotel, The Munsterplatz. This town square is a nice discovery with good finds for a shopaholic like me. It was freezing cold when we shopped for fresh produce from the farmers at the eastern side of the market. A visit here is essential. I get to shop for flowers, oh so colorful geraniums! Everything was super fresh from breads, sausages, cheese, liqueurs, juices, brioche and rare herbs. We bought strawberries and asparagus which are the two typical products from this region. I also had a chance to taste the Weizenbier (wheat beer) around this area.
A visit to this town square is not complete without a tour of the Freiburg Cathedral. The climb to the tower of this Romanesque- Gothic inspired cathedral was exhausting but an absolute “must”! From the top we enjoyed the beautiful view of the town. The huge cathedral is an impressive architecture in cozy surroundings. To hear Bach’s Toccata from the top was a whole new dimension! It is absolutely world class. There were numerous restaurants, bars, and cafes that surround this ancient cathedral. We munched on freshly made Curry Wurst (German sausage) on a food stand within the square with the old cathedral as our backdrop. The cathedral was undergoing restoration when we visited but it did not deter a huge crowd of tourists to tour or hear mass inside this no entrance fee attraction.
Walking around the town square we cannot help but notice these water channels or canals called Freiburg Bachle. Certainly one of the interesting landmarks of the town, these open streams add character and special aura to this quaint little town. We watched kids floating paper boats on its clean waters. The locals believe that if a tourist dips their feet on one of these open streams they are bound to return and marry a local here. More likely, these canals are the sophisticated way of irrigation and efficient way in keeping the town clean. The steady flowing water contributes to the mood around its narrow alleyways. It was worth the time to visit and see typical German houses. We had fun jumping from one side to the other, enjoying a good laugh when one accidentally dips a foot.
The next day was spent hiking along the good ski trails leading to the Feldberg Mountain. It is the ultimate ski wonderland along Black Forest. We rented ski equipments at a resort there; we get to reach the Feldberg Tower thru their ski lift attraction. We boarded an elevator to get to the topmost observation deck. On a clear day we had a picturesque view of the famous Bavarian Alps. The views and rock formations made the trails enjoyable on that minus 20 degree cold weather. In addition to enjoying a great mountain breeze, we get to ski around its great slopes.
Every afternoon we gather every locals and tourists alike as we push our campaign for nature by giving an hour of environmental awareness talks at the House of Nature located at the foot of the mountain. We also get to educate kids about the importance of preserving nature as we gave them a variety of activities to help them appreciate the environment. We stayed for seven days to explore and work for our cause on the Feldberg Nature Preserve Park. From there we got well informed about the history of the mountain. We shared some of our information materials about how to inform people of the need to protect the park’s natural resources. It was a rewarding experience to see their growing interest about climate change and global warming. Visiting the highest mountain of this region was worth every bit of our time and effort.
The next 2 days were spent exploring the nearby attraction called the Schlossberg Mountain. The climb was a little tedious as we reached the 200 meter observation deck. The peak can be enjoyed thru a steep spiral staircase, on a cable car or by simply walking. The ascent might be quite laborious but the climb was worth it for the breathtaking views of the region and its surrounding mountains. We got to enjoy good beers at the famous beer garden named the Greiffenegg Schlosse Restaurant and the traditional Wurst sausage rolls served with a dollop of mustard. Germany is said to have over a thousand different selections of this traditional frankfurters offered in every region. It is commonly served as a typical evening meal. It was great to dine al fresco while we enjoyed the relaxing view of the mountain.
The next day we had fun discovering the cozy museum called the Augustinermuseum. It holds an interesting array of high quality religious statues and historical artifacts. Seeing the wide collection of antique paintings on the attic makes the visit to the museum a real highlight. The nice laid out presentation of the exhibits were perfect example of a modern and minimalist design. I got more interested as I saw sacred wood sculptures dating as far back as the middle ages. I liked the collection of old stained glass church windows; it was also inspiring to learn that this building was once a monastery that is converted to function as a modern Christian museum. Later that day we enjoyed watching a good football match at the Mage Solar Stadion. It was football at its best in a not so very big stadium. The stadium was completely covered, but the view from all seats was not optimal. All in all I find the stadium ok because of its good vibes and affordability. The rest of our days in Black Forest were spent conducting seminars, audio and video slideshow presentations for nature in grade schools, shopping centers, and corporate events within the region.
The Black Forest is a great landscape where one can really relax and also appreciate the need to preserve nature. It is a major tourist destination but not as crowded and expensive as other countries. I am proud to have done my part in making the awareness campaign in this region. If its people choose to do the right thing, I am optimistic that the next generation will still get to appreciate its natural beauty and pristine environment. It is indeed the most beautiful jewel in Germany.
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